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Best rugged Android smartphones money can buy (2019 update)

If you are looking for a rugged phone you can toss around in the mud and go to battle with in the trenches, then continue below for our top 7 best rugged smartphone available.  But if you don’t crawl around in the mud all day for a living, we would highly suggest the Cat S60 or the Samsung Galaxy S7 Active as the most rugged smartphone for everyday use.

ProductBrandNamePrice
CAT PHONESCAT PHONES S60 Rugged Waterproof Smartphone with integrated FLIR cameraBuy on Amazon|$484.46(Price as of 02/23/2019 21:31 ET)

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Made by the same company that makes industrial heavy equipment, Caterpillar also has a phone division that makes rugged phones.  Their latest phone, the Cat S60, was released in June of 2016, so it has most of the modern technologies you would look for in a smartphone, and combine it with the rugged protection, this just might be the perfect and best rugged smartphone available today.  It comes with a 3GB RAM, huge 3800mAh battery, 13MP camera, IP68 certified for waterproofing, running Android 6.0.

Galaxy S7 Active should handle most of the daily mishaps you may entercounter.  It is built with shatter-resistant screen, rated the highest possible IP68 for water and dust protection, and comes with a huge 4,000 mAh battery to get you through the day.

You know how smartphone manufacturers always like to flaunt the way their latest, proudest, costliest “high-end products” cater to the needs of “power users” and so justify the outrageous price tags? Well, if you ask me, they got the definition of power user all wrong.

Bruce Willis phone

Bona fide power users don’t care how fast silly cat YouTube clips load on their handhelds. Or if they can smoothly run the newest Angry Birds installment. Instead, they want devices that could survive wars, actual wars, without flinching.

Quad HD displays? How about unbreakable glass with just enough pixels to check the football scores? “True” octa-core chips? Save it, and give us a gizmo we can bounce off 4 inches thick concrete walls. PureView 41 MP cameras? No thanks, but a battery capable of lasting more than a couple of days on a single charge would be nice when stranded on a deserted island in the middle of nowhere.

Bottom line, we want phones that Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone would use in “Terminator 5” and “Rambo: Last Stand”, not toys for Robert Pattinson or Taylor Lautner to express their feelings for Kristen Stewart in “Twilight”. Luckily, a few such rough, tough, rugged models are around, and we picked seven we think might make even Machete reconsider his stance on texting.

rugged phone

Before getting to it, we’d like to underline the “magnificent seven” was selected based on a number of criteria. Of course, the exact grade of toughness carried the most weight (sorry, Galaxy S5), but we also looked for hardware specifications from this century, relatively new software, quality-price ratio (not even Rambo’s budget is unlimited), decent design (you can’t walk around with a brick in your pocket), and finally reliable, more or less well-known mobile brands. Here we go:

7. Runbo X6

Not only does this ruggedized beast’s name have an awesome ring to it (Runbo, Rambo, get it?), but it’s also water protected for dunks of up to 30 minutes in 2 meters deep rivers, lakes, whatever. And reportedly, impossible to break unless, I don’t know, a sniper has it out for you. Plus, get this, it doubles as a walkie talkie with a 5 km range. Why would you ever need a walkie talkie? Beats me, but it sounds oh so kewl.

Runbo X5

Any downsides to the Runbo X6? You bet. For one thing, it comes from a no-name Chinese OEM. It runs Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (2011 called…), packs a modest dual-core 1 GHz chip, and the 4.3-inch screen is cringe worthy, with 800 x 480 pixels resolution. On top of it all, it’s a little on the expensive side of things, at $400 via Amazon.

6. CATERPILLAR CAT B15

You’re probably all familiar with IP58 and IP67 certifications since the Galaxy S5 and Sony Xperia Z2 brought them to the mainstream, but the rugged CAT B15 adds MIL-STD-810G credentials in the mix. What does that mean exactly? Well, this bad boy ain’t just shielded against accidental water immersions, it can also take a beating, as well as handle solar radiation, thermal shock, humidity, vibration, you name it.

CAT B15

I wouldn’t go so far as to say it will take a bullet for you, but you can use it in the desert, at the North Pole, when it rains, you can punch it (though why would you?), drop it whenever wherever. Price? A measly $370. On-board software? Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. Hardware specs? That’s its Achilles’ heel, as it sports a 4-inch 800 x 480 pix res panel, dual-core 1 GHz SoC and 512 MB RAM.

5. NEC Terrain

Yes, the design is a violent blast from the past. I mean, I was under the impression candybars were outlawed in certain parts of the world years ago. Jokes aside, the Terrain is sure ugly, but it has one very important thing going for it. It’s cheap. $79.99 outright through Amazon, or $100 with AT&T contracts.

NEC Terrain

It’s also dust tight, water proof, plus MIL-STD-810G certified, just like the B15. Bottom line, if you’re on an (extremely) tight budget, this is your guy. Just maybe don’t ask a lot of questions about screen resolution, pre-loaded software, or cameras.

4. Samsung Galaxy Rugby Pro

Looky here, an MIL-STD-810G-approved rugged handheld from the world’s most popular mobile phone maker. And affordable too, at least with AT&T pacts: $20. Off-contract, it’s a preposterous $450, albeit you can find refurb or used units at less than half the price.

Galaxy Rugby Pro

Aside from resisting shocks, water and so on and so forth, the Rugby Pro offers 4G LTE connectivity (nice), a punchy dual-core 1.5 GHz Snapdragon S4 chip, and 1 GB RAM. Too bad it’s still on Ice Cream Sandwich.

3. Kyocera Hydro XTRM

This little survivor resembles the Galaxy Rugby Pro greatly, pretty much withstanding the same “pressures” with similar grace and supporting 4G LTE. But it’s so much cheaper, at $50 (yes, fifty bucks) free of contract restrictions via MetroPCS. Plus, it’s on Jelly Bean.

Kyocera Hydro XTRM

Drawbacks? Technically, it can endure shorter, more “casual” swims than some of its rivals, including the #2 on our rankings. It’s also extra prone to cracking if you drop it from higher than, say, your hip. The battery isn’t ideal either, and the 4 GB internal storage almost pitiful.

2. Kyocera Torque

Extreme is Torque’s middle name, yet another gadget that meets military standards for everything from dust to transport shock, high or low temperatures, solar radiation, etc., etc. Where the Torque truly impresses however is in battery life, packing a ginormous 2,500 mAh juicer whose autonomy is way beyond those of Android “flagship” devices. Think 20 hours in continuous talk time, and possibly up to a week in average use.

kyocera-torque

Available with Sprint contracts starting at a penny, the Kyocera Torque is no catwalk supermodel, weighing in at close to 170 grams and being way too curvy for my own personal taste. It’s also stuck on Ice Cream Sandwich. So close to perfection, Kyocera, so damn close.

1. Casio G’Zone Commando 4G LTE

Did anyone say perfection? Ahem, meet Verizon’s Commando. A striking, robust, muscular, hunky yet also stylish phone, the 4 incher is a near flawless blend of physical strength and high-performing Android-backed hardware.

Since Verizon eliminated the contracts, you would need to buy this phone outright, which is going for $499.99 currently on Amazon.  The LTE-enabled hunk is sheltered against 4-feet drops, 30-minutes 1 m depth water dunks, rain, heavy dust, salt fog, humidity, solar radiation, ultra-low pressure, temperatures as high as 85° C and as low as -25°. Bottom line, it’s virtually indestructible.

GzOne-Commando-LTE

Oh, yes, and it features a snappy 1.5 GHz dual-core processor, 1 GB RAM, 16 GB built-in storage, 8 MP rear-facing camera, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, so it’s really the best of both worlds.

What say you, action movie aficionados/outdoorsy tech geeks? Is any of the above your ideal war comrade? Have any other suggestions? Would you have maybe ranked our top seven differently? Let your voices be heard.

ProductBrandNamePrice
CAT PHONESCAT PHONES S60 Rugged Waterproof Smartphone with integrated FLIR cameraBuy on Amazon|$484.46(Price as of 02/23/2019 21:31 ET)

* Links in this table contain affiliate links, which means at no additional cost to you, we will earn a commission if you click through the link and make a purchase. Thank you for your support. For more details, please visit our Privacy policy page.

Casio Smart Outdoor Watch now selling on the Google Store for $499

Casio Smart Outdoor Watch

Casio Smart Outdoor Watch

Casio’s #AndroidWear offering, otherwise known as the Casio Smart Outdoor Watch is now available directly from the Google Store. The smartwatch has been priced at $499.99, which is partially justified given that it’s supposed to be a rugged offering (going by the name at least).

Casio is a renowned name in the wrist-watch segment, which makes this offering very important for the company as well as Google’s smartwatch library. The wearable comes with the latest version of Android Wear and is promised to receive the latest updates as well. However, one might not be able to shell out $499.99 for the wearable, considering that a standard sized smartphone can be bought for the same price.

What’s surprising is that the smartwatch is lacking GPS on board. This feature is a standard on most new wearables, which makes the omission a bit surprising to us. But if that’s not much of a caveat for you, make sure you hit the Google Store page below and get the Casio Smart Outdoor Watch.

Source: Google Store

Casio working on a new smartwatch: Report

Casio Logo

Reports are indicating that Japanese watch maker Casio is the latest to be interested in the development of a new smartwatch. It is believed that the company has always been interested in bringing a device like this to the market with the plan said to be in fruition for about 3-4 years now.

The company states that this wearable will be priced at $400, which would make it expensive compared to the current crop of Android Wear smartwatches, but not by much. The smartwatch will be reportedly sold in Japan first, which makes sense since it is their home turf.

Sadly, the smartwatch will probably be OS agnostic much like Pebble, which means that Android users won’t be able to get any exclusive features. But regardless of that, it’s good to know that a new smartwatch will land in the market soon, even more so if it’s from a world renowned company like Casio which is known to push the boundaries of technology since the 80s.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Via: Engadget

Best rugged Android smartphones money can buy – Updated for October 2014

Alright, manly men, hardcore outdoor enthusiasts, war seekers, iPhone haters and, last but not least, Android lovers. We’re back with a new set of rugged gear recommendations. We’ve just tackled the best, most durable tablets around, so this time, we’ll shine the spotlight on some of the toughest smartphones in the world.

Bruce Willis phone

Better put, we’ll shine it back, as, believe it or not, a lot has changed in the world of John McClane-friendly Android handhelds these past months. Specifically, four brand new contenders want to bid for the heavyweight title in robustness, pushing out of our top seven four aging heroes.

Farewell, Kyocera Torque, our silver medalist from back March, bye-bye, Hydro XTRM, CAT B15 and Runbo X5. We wish we got to know you better. But there’s no time for nostalgia. Without further ado, we’ll sink our teeth in the rookie quartet, then evaluating the wow factor and vigor of our veteran trio.

Army phone

For the record, we haven’t ordered the list this time around, as we didn’t feel comfortable directly pitting two-year-olds against gadgets literally just launched. Here’s the magnificent seven ergo, in no particular order:

Samsung Galaxy S5 Active – $150 with AT&T contracts, $660 outright

Okay, so the S5 Active isn’t exactly the sturdiest of the bunch. As Pocket Now put it in their review, it’s not “everything-proof”. But it is really your only flagship rugged option. Flagship through and through, that is, with not just a muscular exterior.

There’s brawn under the hood too, courtesy of a quad-core Snapdragon 801 processor and 2 GB RAM, and the 5.1-inch Super AMOLED display is extremely sharp, at 1,920 x 1,080 pixels, aka Full HD resolution.

Galaxy S5 Active

Available exclusively on AT&T, the GS5 Active is perfect for Android power users who spend a fair amount of time outside, but don’t intend on starting a war anytime soon. Water resistant up to 1 meter and 30 minutes, the camo green or titanium gray-coated device is also theoretically protected against vibration, solar radiation, dirt, humidity or thermal shock.

Kyocera Brigadier – $100 with Verizon pacts, $400 outright

Considerably cheaper than the S5 Active, both on and off-contract, the Brigadier is the exact opposite of Samsung’s top-shelf rugged effort in almost every way. It’s nowhere near as zippy, the spec sheet on the whole is mediocre, but it’s virtually indestructible.

Kyocera Brigadier

And it definitely looks the part, tipping the scales at 187 grams and measuring 13.2 mm thick. That’s 17 grams and over 4 mm more than the S5 Active, even though this is a 4.5 incher.

But did we mention exactly how unbreakable the Brigadier is? Phandroid’s abuse compilation video, embedded below, speaks volumes to that. Spoiler alert: these torturing guys dunk the chunky phone in various liquid-containing objects, toilet bowl included, drop it… repeatedly, throw rocks on it, let a dog lick it (?!), knife it and try to blend it, and the 4.5 incher escapes without a single scratch.

But, but, but how does one kill it in a rise-of-the-machines scenario?

CAT S50 – $600 factory unlocked

Standard drop test? You’ll have to do better than that to harm a single hair on CAT S50’s head, as this Terminator candidate can bounce back after hard contacts with concrete from heights of up to 1.8 meters.

Almost exactly as fat as the Brigadier, and 2 grams lighter, the S50 does offer a bit of extra screen real estate. 4.7 inches in total, with 720p resolution. Also, a decent quad-core 1.2 GHz Snapdragon 400 processor and, get this, 2 GB RAM.

CAT S50

On the not so bright side of things, the rubberized corner-sporting device is bizarrely rated on-par with the S5 Active for water and dust resistance. IP67 certification is clearly not enough to justify the extravagant price tag, so it’s perhaps wiser to hold off for discounts. They’re definitely coming.

Kyocera Torque XT – $50 with Sprint service agreements

Well, well, well, what do we have here? A slightly tweaked version of the OG Kyocera Torque, available, like its predecessor, squarely on Sprint. Just as robust and unflinching in the face of danger as the original, the Torque XT offers 20 GB internal storage space (say what?), and improved battery life.

Also, pre-installed Android 4.4 KitKat software goodies. And sure, it’s disappointing to see it pack dual-core processing power and tout a sub-par 4-inch WVGA panel, but that’s perhaps for the best.

kyocera-torque-xt

If Kyocera were to increase screen resolution and size, they’d need to adapt with a different design and possibly mess the perfect indestructibility of the MIL-STD-810G-compliant Torque. There’s also the question of unrivaled pricing.

And if you want to save an extra buck or two, the OG Torque can be had at a penny with contracts, and $107 outright.

Samsung Galaxy Rugby Pro – $1 with AT&T pacts; $200 unlocked

The first of our three veterans still standing is a classic. It almost needs no introduction, and right now it’s mighty affordable. For crying out loud, it’s dropped a whopping $250 outright in six months. Remember, the Rugby Pro continues to run Android 4.1 Jelly Bean (damn it, Sammy), and handle anything you throw at it, from dust to rain to solar radiation to thermal shock.

Galaxy Rugby Pro

NEC Terrain – $85 unlocked

This retro Alpha male wasn’t treated with the same discounts as the Rugby Pro, chiefly because it was dirt-cheap right off the bat. And it’s dirt-cheap these days too, plus it’s the only rugged smartphone aimed at elders.

NEC Terrain

Or just text messaging nuts who can’t wrap their heads around touchscreens and on-screen keyboards. IP67 certified for short, shallow water immersions, the Terrain of course adheres to military standards, and is thus usable on any sort of terrain, wink, wink.

Casio G’Zone Commando 4G LTE – $300, no contracts needed

The key selling point of Verizon’s latest G’Zone Commando? It’s in the name of the gizmo. 4G LTE connectivity, which is a pretty big deal at $300. Of course, the technically discontinued 4 incher cuts a number of corners in various areas, such as screen resolution (800 x 480), processing power (dual-core 1.5 GHz), or battery capacity (1,800 mAh).

Casio GZone Commando 4G LTE

Not camera performance, though, as an 8 megapixel sensor is fairly neat for this price range, and certainly not rugged features. You have water resistance, a shock and drop shield, incredible opposition to extreme temperatures, the whole nine yards.

That’s a wrap, gentlemen and… gentlemen, and now it’s time to take your pick. Will you go for affordability, power and good looks or maybe a retro feel in your hands? Let us know in the comments section below, and feel free to add any other rugged contenders we may have forgotten to mention. Let’s see some teamwork, mmkay?

Verizon announces the Casio G’zOne Commando 4G LTE, $99 after 2-Year Contract

Screen Shot 2013-06-25 at 8.30.01 AM

For those of you who are constantly outdoors and need a strong, sturdy phone, Verizon has just announced the Casio G’zOne Commando 4G LTE this morning. The ruggedized device is Verizon’s latest smartphone to withstand shock, water, dust, salt fog, and humidity.

Specs wise, the G’zOne Commando features a 8MP camera with 1080p recording, a 1.3MP front facing camera, as well as a Glove Mode which allows you to navigate the smartphone’s touch screen when you are wearing gloves.

The device will cost $99 after a 2-year agreement and $50 mail in rebate, and will be available to purchase starting this Thursday, June 27th.

Source: Verizon

Casio shows $2500 Paper Writer Android Tablet that also acts as a scanner

As the yearend nears, we’ve been hearing a lot of buzz from tablets that would soon be released but majority of them have almost the same features. Casio, however, wants to be unique in its own way and target the corporate market even if it means releasing a bizarre device that possibly, no one has ever seen before.

Casio’s foray into the tablet market is the Paper Writer; an Android-operated tablet that also functions as a scanner. Unexpectedly, the company is going to market it at a premium price starting at $2,500. One of the reasons why it is very expensive is because Casio is going to target the corporate market hoping the device would be warmly accepted.

The Casio Paper Writer will be using a dual-core processor clocked at 1.5GHz. There is no information as to the chipset that would be used in it but most likely it would be a Snapdragon S4 SOC (system-on-chip) from Qualcomm. There could also be 1GB RAM to complement the CPU and at least, 16GB internal memory with a slot for an external storage device. It has a battery that offers 7,000mAh, which could last up to 12 hours of straight usage, and Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich for its operating system.

The Paper Writer has a custom camera that faces downward; it serves as the scanner. What makes it special is that Casio has given it a program that can recognize characters even if they were hand-written. It can also recognize asterisks and dollar signs as tags for where to save digitized documents. Documents would be strapped into the inside of the device’s case for scanning. The clarity of the output will entirely depend on the contrast of the paper and the ink as well as to brightness of the environment.

Does this functionality sound familiar? Yes, it is because when you think of it, it’s like taking a picture using an ordinary tablet. The character recognition technology and the vividness of the camera being used as a scanner are what made the Paper Writer “not so ordinary.”

The company has yet to officially announce the device on still undisclosed date. But it assures its customers that it will support Casio Paper Writer for years so people who will eventually order one of these won’t have to upgrade the device so soon. It may offer unique functionality but Casio is going after the market that Apple and Microsoft consider their battleground.

[source: The Verge]

Casio Forays Into Tablet Market with Paper Writer

If you are one of those consumers who still prefer using a pen and paper to take notes but are curious about tablet PCs, as well, then maybe this new offering by Casio would be appealing.

The Japan-based electronics company, known for making watches, calculators, and digital cameras has added four tablet PCs to its roster of products. Called the Paper Writer tablets, the V-N500-WJ, V-N500-J, V-T500-WJ, and the V-T500-J do not force consumers to make a choice a notepad and a tablet. Rather, it puts these choices together literally side-by-side in a single case. One one side, users can find the tablet PC while on the other, they can place a notepad. But here is where things get interesting: when users close the cover, the tablet’s front camera is able to scan what is written on the notepad with the help of preloaded software. The tablet can also be positioned in such as way so as to allow users to scan every page of a bound publication through a feature called Shot Page Turning. Apart from notes, it can also scan business cards, and automatically feed its contents, like the name, address, and contact details of the person, into the tablet’s address book.

To ensure the notes’ good image quality, Casio equipped the front-facing camera with a 5-megapixel sensor, which is better than the front-facing cameras on many tablets available today. Apart from this feature, the tablets also come with a stylus, allowing users to take notes on the touchscreen itself.

Those, however, who would like to use the front-facing camera for capturing still images or video may choose variants of the Paper Writer whose front cameras are better suited for these purposes. All four variants, however, let users take photos and videos using the rear-facing camera.

As for its hardware, the Paper Writer tablets come with a dual-core 1.5GHz processor, 1GB of RAM, and 16GB of storage capacity, and support for NFC and Bluetooth 4.0.

At the moment, the Paper Writer tablets are available in Japan, and there is no word whether they will be released abroad.

via androidauthority

New Tablet From Casio Brings Android 4.0 To POS Terminals

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Electronics manufacturer Casio showed off a, new Android powered tablet at the Retail Technology Expo earlier today. While some may consider using the Retail Technology Expo to be an odd place to show off a new Android tablet, it served Casios purpose well.

The 10.1″ tablet with Android 4.0 on board is actually meant to function as a point of sale terminal (POS). 

Casio executives have suggested the tablet will cost more than comparably spec’d tablets by Samsung, HTC, and Motorola. Perhaps it will be more along the lines of the direct to enterprise tablets by Panasonic.

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Netflix For Android Updated, Three More Devices Added

While Netflix for Android is a grand application to have available it is only available on certain devices. However, it does seem like they are adding new devices quickly and even if your Android device is not listed there are other ways to get working for you. Luckily, Netflix has updated their application to fix ome small bugs and also add a few more devices. (more…)

Casio’s Ruggedly Designed Phones Come To Android

It kind of looks like an old school Nextel Phone or something from the future. That’s what I first thought when I saw the new Casio Command0 Phone while perusing pocketnow.com The Casio G’z One Commando is the next in the line of rugged Casio phones. In fact according to one of our sources at Verizon the Commando can withstand even more water drippage than the Motorola Defy which came out on T-Mobile last year (we can’t wait to test that). Also with Father’s Day in front of us this may be the Android to get Dad for all those fishing trips when he needs his Android apps with him.

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